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Maryland Utilities Companies Must Provide Smart Meter Options

The Maryland Public Service Commission ruled Monday that customers will have additional options, which may include opting out of smart meters.

Maryland utilities customers will have more options when it comes to smart meter installation at their homes and businesses.

The Maryland Public Service Commission ruled Monday that public interest requires that Baltimore Gas & Electric, Potomac Electric Power Company and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative provide customers with an additional option related to smart meters, according to a ruling on the commission's website. 

Customers have complained about the health consequences that they believe will occur as a result of radio frequency emissions from the smart meters. The commission found no "convincing evidence" to support that claim, but acknowledged a "good-faith belief" to the contrary from customers.

As such, the commission will conduct additional proceedings to determine if customers will have the option to retain their analog meters or mandate that smart meters be installed in a radio frequency-free, or near radio frequency-free, manner, according to the ruling. Customers choosing the alternative option would have to assume the additional costs.

Utilities companies must provide proposals related to the costs of the smart meter options by July 1.

Until a decision is made on which option will be made available to customers, the utilities companies will continue to honor a moratorium on installation for those customers who have informed the companies that they do not want a smart meter, according to the ruling.

william bittner January 13, 2013 at 05:41 PM
They individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy. They transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants. Those with access to the smart meter databases can review a history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance. “Smart Meters” are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored. It is possible for example, with analysis of certain “Smart Meter” data, for unauthorized and distant parties to determine medical conditions, sexual activities, physical locations of persons within the home, vacancy patterns and personal information and habits of the occupants
number9dream January 13, 2013 at 08:04 PM
@william bittner Invasion of privacy? Really? Is that your beef with Smart Meters? I'm no fan of the devices, but if you have a cell phone, cable tv, internet or for that matter any utility, your habits can be surveilled. It may also be a good idea to cite your sources, this being language from a generic mass mailing letter.
djp952 January 14, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Yeah, that's a tad on the extreme conspiracy theory side there in my opinion. There is some level of truth in that if compromised, smart meter data could provide evil doers with a general idea when people are and aren't home, but those same evil doers could just, I don't know, count the cars in the driveway? The rest is obviously complete bunk. The first and last sentences are kinda classic, too, I had to screen shot this for posterity :) I am also not a fan of the idea and would love the state to mandate a cost-free opt-out to BGE, but it's because I see the meters as a way for the power companies to justify charging more for the same service we're already provided. I think the original concept was legitimate and justified, sure power should cost more when it's in extremely high demand and less when it's in extremely low demand (note "extremely"), but it's a safe assumption that the information will be abused for the sake of profit margins and the PSC will either have no recourse or take years to figure out how to stop the fleecing. Essentially, I just don't trust BG&E's motives. Criminals that want to know if I'm home or not can already find that out, no problem there. Potential impact to my plethora of 2.4GHz wireless devices, well, there's always 5GHz and I do love me some upgrades :)
Vex Machine January 15, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Not true, they can say how much electrictiy is used but not what on. Take the foil hat off and stop fearmongering.
George Karadimas January 16, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Smart Meter ARE ALL GOOD! It says so here! An extensive analysis, by the title. "Analysis: Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems" The Smart Meters ARE GOOD! It is the SMART GRID that has the problems! http://smartmeterharm.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/1-smart-meter-problems-dec-2012-final.pdf
Brenda McNeal, L.Ac., ADS May 18, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Helpful hint to all neighbors who have been contacted by BGE to replace their Electric Meters - Check Their Work BEFORE They Leave!! Our recent upgrade to the new Smart Meter left our electric meter panel pulled away from the wall. The installer said nothing to us about this and we haven't heard from BGE about when/if they would be out to fix it.

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